Red Sox

Dombrowski out of touch on Ohtani recruitment process

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Dombrowski out of touch on Ohtani recruitment process

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — When it comes to the Shohei Ohtani pursuit, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski sounds out of touch.

Dombrowski said at the winter meetings Tuesday he was surprised that the Red Sox did not become a finalist to meet with Ohtani, after all 30 teams had an opportunity to submit a presentation to convince Ohtani to then have a face to face meeting. The Sox were not granted a face to face meeting, and he signed with the Angels.

“It was something the organization worked on for a long time and a couple of people that really focused on it for years,” Dombrowski said. “Our presentation, we made a very thorough presentation, a very strong presentation, one that I looked at, I didn’t do the work myself, but people showed me. I thought the presentation was outstanding. So we were very invested.”

He didn't do the work himself? Delegation is one thing (and a good thing). But Dombrowski misread the field here.

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No East Coast team was a finalist. There likely was nothing the Red Sox could have done to convince Ohtani to gain a meeting. That's an important point here.

But as a matter of principle, as a vehicle for understanding Dombrowski's savvy and how it compares to his peers, it may be telling that Dombrowski thought he didn't have time to put together the Ohtani presentation — and that he thought all other GMs felt the same way.

“Well, I don't think that the time consumption of putting together that presentation, I mean, we had those guys spend over a couple weeks on that,” Dombrowski said. “I wouldn't think that any general manager would've put that together. In fact, I don't think anyone could. It was just way, way too much time spent on only that situation. Now, if we were making a presentation personally, I would've been there. 

"But to send a presentation — that's what they wanted; they wanted the presentation sent to them. Now, I was aware of what was in there and was shown there, but it would be way too much work for, I think, any general manager. In fact, I know there's not a general manager in the game that put that presentation together.”

Dombrowski is incorrect. 

One finalist team's GM told NBC Sports Boston they worked personally on their presentation and essay and felt the quality of the presentation, which was collaborative, helped land them the meeting, separating them from the pack. Another finalist team had their GM directly help put it together as well, and all of them may have.

But it wasn't just finalist teams that had GMs involved.

"We'd be emailing the presentation and they'd send it to me at 10 o'clock at night. I'd work on it for a couple hours and I'd send them comments at midnight," Reds general manager Dick Williams said, via MLB.com. "As it got closer and we knew we were going to have to send something, we really ramped it up.”

The people Dombrowski delegated the work to are highly respected and diligent. Among them, Allard Baird is a former general manager, Jared Banner is a future general manager. They followed Ohtani incredibly closely, devoting great time and effort well before any presentation was created. 

But why wouldn’t Dombrowski want to add to the man power of that great team, to prioritize this project himself once it came time to send the presentation? Leadership is about delegation, and it's also about knowing the right time to push full steam ahead with all available resources.

The Reds, of course, were not a finalist either, meeting the same fate as the Red Sox.

"We tried a few things. Didn't work," Williams said. "Those of us close to it that worked on it convinced ourselves that we had a very good case. We really wanted him to hear it and feel the same way we did."

But it was worth it.

The pursuit of Ohtani was an effort to convince a pitcher who could have been worth $200 million on the open market to sign with a club for roughly one tenth of that. Ohtani is an incredible bargain and rare talent that deserved every bit of focus and energy from the top of the organization.

As one GM put it recently regarding Ohtani, “It starts at the top.”

"We're not going to leave a stone unturned in the efforts to do it again if the opportunity arises,” Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in his podcast in late November. "We'll be responsible in how we do it, but we understand this is a one-time buying opportunity and you have to be prepared.

"To me, the worst thing we can be is sitting on the sideline being too conservative, sitting on our hands when an opportunity to change the history of the organization comes along. Because this is what this might be.”

What GM would have time for that?

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Yawkey Way renaming approved unanimously

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Yawkey Way renaming approved unanimously

The City of Boston's Public Improvement Commission unanimously approved the petition to rename Yawkey Way Thursday. 

The street on which Fenway Park is located had been named after late Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey in 1977. His history of racism led current owner John Henry to say he was in favor of the street being renamed. 

The street will be renamed Jersey Street, which was the street's name prior to its 1977 renaming.  

Mookie Betts hits 2 HRs to power Red Sox to 4-3 win over Blue Jays

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USA TODAY Sports Photo

Mookie Betts hits 2 HRs to power Red Sox to 4-3 win over Blue Jays

TORONTO -- After six home runs in his last seven games, it seems Mookie Betts' isn't impressing his teammates anymore.

"We don't care about Mookie, we care about the Bruins," Hanley Ramirez joked in the locker room after Betts' latest offensive outburst helped the Boston Red Sox snap their season-high three-game losing streak with a 4-3 over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

Betts homered twice and drove in three runs as the Red Sox improved to 6-1 in one-run games and got their 18th win of the season, tying the franchise record for victories before May 1.

While the Red Sox outfielder has reached base in each of his last 19 games against the Blue Jays, he said he feels he is starting to tap into the power side of his game.

"I think so. A lot of learning with the new hitting [coaches], and with [new teammate] J.D. [Martinez], just putting things together," he said. "Actually learning how to use my strength versus going off ability."

Betts got the Red Sox on the scoreboard with leadoff homer in the first -- his third such shot of the season and 14th of his career --over the left-field fence. He then put the Red Sox in front for good in the seventh, taking reliever Danny Barnes (1-1) deep over the right-field wall for his eighth homer of the season, a two-run shot that also drove in Brock Holt.

Alex Cora said it is games like this that has Betts keeping the very best of company in the major leagues.

"They're special," the Red Sox manager said. "The Trouts, the Altuves, the more at-bats they get the better you feel about it,"

Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez (3-0) gave up three runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings, throwing a season-high 106 pitches.

One night after giving up a walk-off home run to Curtis Granderson, closer Craig Kimbrel worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his sixth save of the season.

Though Boston has now won all of Rodriguez's four starts this season, after the recent losing skid, the left-hander was more than happy to give credit to the guy who jump-started the offense.

"We needed something like that, somebody to get us in front and do it like he did it today," he said.

However, Yangervis Solarte wasn't handing out much credit after the game. The third baseman's sixth home run of the season into the second deck of left field in the sixth inning gave Toronto its only lead of the game at 3-2.

"I think [Rodriguez] got lucky a couple of times and we didn't take advantage of it," he said. "I think we made the adjustment a little bit. But I think he got lucky more than us getting beat."

Aaron Sanchez lasted six innings for the Blue Jays, giving up just three hits and two runs, while striking out a season-high eight.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: SS Xander Bogaerts might be in the Boston lineup Friday, but lost his chance for another rehab appearance with Triple-A Pawtucket's game rained out on Wednesday and the team off Thursday. Manager Alex Cora said Bogaerts would visit the doctor before making a determination on his availability. He has been out since fracturing his ankle on April 8.

Blue Jays: 3B Josh Donaldson should be ready to begin a rehab assignment later this week, according to manager John Gibbons. The former AL MVP has been out since April 10 with right shoulder inflammation. ... SS Troy Tulowitzki has been cleared to begin light baseball activities, according to a team spokesperson. Tulowitzki, currently on the 60-day DL after having bone spurs removed from both feet during spring training, will be monitored and re-evaluated after four weeks.

OUTRIGHT THIEVERY

With steals of both second and third base in the seventh inning by Andrew Benitendi, the Red Sox have now converted 20 of their last 20 stolen-base attempts against Toronto.

NOT O-K?

The Red Sox struck out 10 times and has now done so in each of their last four games, after reaching that mark just two in their first 19 contests.

HIGHLIGHT REEL

Just missing leading off the bottom of the first with a home run, Steve Pearce instead decided to make a play for second as the ball caromed off the left-field wall. But with left fielder Benitendi making a good, one-hop throw to second, only a nifty hook slide around the tag of Eduardo Nunez prevented the out.

A FOUR-GONE CONCLUSION?

Despite posting a 13-0 record when plating four or more runs, the Blue Jays dropped to 1-9 when scoring less than four.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (1-1, 1.86) takes the mound for the series finale looking to improve on his 4-1 record with a 0.96 ERA in seven appearances in Toronto.

Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (2-1, 5.32) is looking for his first win against the Red Sox since June 5, 2016, after going 0-1 against them in four starts last season.

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